December 30, 2011

New Years Resolution

I got to thinking about New Years Resolutions and wondered how many people actually make them. Do you plan to make a New Years Resolution?  If so what are you resolving to do differently in 2012? Or what would you like to change?

I decided to look up the word resolution on  I was wondering what the difference is between having a resolution and setting goals. This is what came up:


1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
5. the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.

I've never been one to make New Year Resolutions but as a New Year approaches I can't help but reflect.  I like to think about what's happened in the past year and if I learned anything from it.  I suppose that when I reflect I end up making very non-formal goals in my own head for the year to come.  To me I suppose a resolution is too formal; and failing to maintain a resolution would be discouraging and frustrating.  It seems like a resolution is firm and not adjustable.  Whereas a goal, I feel, can be reassessed throughout the year and adjusted as circumstances change.  What do you think?

For me 2011 went very fast, I've heard the years just keep going faster the older you get.  We lived a very full 2011 and many firsts took place.

In 2011
  • Bought a ski pass and was able to go skiing in the Rockies
  • Finally gained confidence as a teacher
  • Blanca (my dog) turned 2 years old
  • Went to Salt Lake City, Utah for the first time and dipped my feet in the Great Salt Lake
  • Tore my ACL while skiing and experienced my first surgery
  • Gained weight
  • Started throwing pottery again
  • Traveled to Minnesota for the first time
  • Got my first tattoos
  • Abruptly moved to Nebraska
  • Left a church family
  • Started attending a church that is probably bigger than the town I grew up in
  • Went to the Iowa State Fair
  • Ate fried butter
  • Became addicted to cheese curds
  • Started a blog
  • Became a substitute teacher, teaching every grade and subject K-8

A few pictures from 2011
That's actually a condensed version of some main things that happened in 2011 and the things that came to my mind first.  As I read back over that list I wonder did I learn anything?  One main thing I learned is that I need to embrace the moment that I'm living and not long for moments that don't exist yet.  For example I grew up skiing and desired very badly to go skiing in the Rockies.  I couldn't believe that I lived in Colorado and wasn't skiing!  Finally after 3 years I got to go skiing; I crashed and tore my ACL.  I've been on the mend ever since.  It wasn't even an impressive crash!  It happened because my mind was once again elsewhere and I was distracted, not thinking about skiing properly. Not to mention skiing in the Rockies is just a little different than skiing in the Appalachians.  What did I learn?  I need to focus on the moment that I'm living in; not on the past or future.

Of course I learned that I love butter any which way it comes and fried butter is amazing.  I learned that I need to make deeper investments in those who I'm blessed to have around me, because things change and they might not always be there.  When we moved from Colorado to Nebraska it happened entirely too fast and I was in need of ACL surgery.  We didn't even really have time to say proper goodbyes and closure was definitely lacking.  Now I'm working on making the best of what I've been given and where I've been placed.  It's challenging not feeling settled and not knowing how long you'll be somewhere.  But I think it's important to make investments no matter how much time you're given. I'm definitely still working on that one though.

Through substituting I learned that I can teach any age and subject.  I learned that I definitely prefer teaching older more independent children over tiny tots.  I love that they get sarcasm and they don't need help going to the bathroom.  It's really hard when you're a substitute because the tiny tots don't respond to you since you don't know their names.  I learned that our Librarians, Art Teachers, Music Teachers, Gym Teachers and other specials teachers do NOT have it easy and they deserve the same respect that any other teacher gets.

I was happy to have finally started this blog. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while.  The fear of coming up with a name, will people actually read this, will I be able to keep coming up with things to write were thoughts that kept preventing me.  There are always fears that go along with putting yourself out there.  One of my biggest successes so far with this blog has been the Crock-Pot Lasagna. I have to admit, that sure surprised me.  Now I'm trying to figure out how to give you readers more of what you want.  That would be one of my goals for this New Year; more interaction on this blog.

It's hard to believe it will be a new year and I hope that I can take these reflections and actually apply them.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this blog goes in 2012 and watching it grow.  I hope that I will get to know my readers better and I expect to hear more from you.  You know the only thing that will keep this blog alive is you.  So next time you feel a prompting to leave a comment or send me an e-mail please do, I would love to hear from you!

May you and your family have a full, healthy and HAPPY New Year!

December 26, 2011

Oh Shenandoah

Well I suppose I finally got myself in the Christmas spirit just in time for it to be all over. The Shenandoah Valley is a place of healing and being around family definitely helps. It only took us a whopping 19 hours and driving through 9 states to get us from Nebraska to Virginia. We drove through the night which was not exactly eventful but that's the point. Of course we are able to bring our doggy Blanca along when we drive instead of fly.

These were all taken in my parents backyard.

The weekend started early Christmas Eve morning with a short hike. We went just up the road from my parents' house thinking we might be able to get to the top of a ridge. The air was crisp and the ground was soggy. We didn't ever find the trail that branched off to get us to the top but we did enjoy walking along a lovely stream. Blanca was thrilled to run freely through the woods. We all needed the fresh Appalachian air in our lungs, it really does wonders for the soul. I was surprised at how vibrant everything still is considering it's winter.  Being here has been a much needed break from the lack of Nebraska scenery.

Christmas Eve afternoon we enjoyed time with my Grandma, uncle, my sister and her family. It was wonderful seeing everyone and getting to spend time with them. Unfortunatly it was a great reminder of how disconnected you become when you live far away for each other. I long for stronger deeper relationships and am ready to be in a more permanent place, preferably closer to family.

My Grandma makes the most beautiful wreaths and has been making them for as long as I can rememeber. I was happy she made one just for me this year. She loves to use tree trimmings and elements from nature to adorn them. They have a lovely sent.

Christmas Eve was a nice time spent with family. Christmas day was more relaxed and spent with my parents. It's nice to have a relaxing Christmas day. We went to church, had a nice lunch, then opened presents and enjoyed a nice dinner together. The weather here is gorgeous! I look forward to enjoying it and hope it stays this way through the next week. Since we get to stay until after the New Year!

I'm hoping y'all had a wonderful Christmas weekend too and were able to spend time with those dear to you. What was your favorite Christmas gift? I hope you will get to enjoy it for many days to come.

Blanca's favorite gift was a giant Nylabone, we got the biggest one we could find. Hopefully it will last a while.
Of course having such a wonderful outdoor space to explore and enjoy is her second favorite gift.

December 23, 2011

Poinsettia Show

In August I wrote a post about my visit to Lauritzen Gardens and the contrast between Juan Kaneko sculptures and the natural setting. I was excited when I found out they put on a spectacular poinsettia show during the Christmas season. We decided to go on a free day fully expecting it to be crowed we just didn't realize how crowded.

They begin preparing for the show in July where they grow over 5,600 poinsettia plants in the greenhouses. The details that were put into this exhibit were incredible. The same model trains that I saw outside in August were moved indoors and weaved their way in and out of decorated trees and endless varieties of poinsettias. There was even a 20 foot tall tree made entirely out of poinsettias.

Even though there were people shoulder to shoulder and a line I still managed to get some great pictures. It was a great day until the unthinkable happened. I was off in my own little wonderland starting to focus in on the next picture when a lady asked if I could take her families' photo. You see I am an approachable person. I'm one of those people that others come up to in grocery stores and ask questions. I'm not sure why I guess I just look friendly and apparently like someone who might take a good family photo. This is not the first time I've been asked to take pictures for people and usually all goes well. So the husband hands me their camera and it all started with me pushing the wrong button accidentally. Then he takes it back and puts it on the correct screen and I prepare for the photo. Did I mention the line of shoulder to shoulder people are stopped at this point all waiting for the wonderful family and the nice girl to finish with the picture? Well I finished and started to hand it back to the family while looking at the screen preview to see if at least one of the pictures turned out. Next thing I know the camera is slowly crashing to the ground and everything is beginning to move in slow motion and according to my husbands detailed recollection the families' camera proceed to bounce not once, not twice, but at least three times before finally coming to a halt.

My heart literally jumped out of my chest I've never felt so embarrassed or terrible. I apologized repeatedly and I think they said it was okay. Everything else blurred together at that point because I felt so badly. The camera was in one piece and I pray that it works wonderfully for as long as they would like for it to. Or maybe Santa will bring them a new camera and they will forget all about their old one that was dropped at a poinsettia show by a "nice" looking girl.  Our day of fun ended early at that point and I felt like I was in mourning the rest of the afternoon. I'm not sure how that camera fell out of my hand but my husband seems to think it might have been bumped out.

Did I learn anything from this unfortunate event? YES I did! From now on if people ask me to take their picture or handle anything that belongs to them I will politely decline and if they persist I will say that I'm clumsy and it comes with a risk. Truth be told I've dropped my camera quite a few times and I've gotten countless amounts of butter, melted chocolate, flour and other random spatterings all over it. Has anything like this ever happened to you? Please tell me I'm not the only one. It's official I now have a new most embarrassing moment that trumps the others. To end on a happy note I hope you will enjoy the pictures I took of the day before it took a turn for the worst. I would love to know if you have a favorite.

I've never seen a poinsettia tree before.

I loved that they filled the bottom of the poinsettia tree with cranberries.
The trees outside were decorated with ornaments specially made for the birds. What a fun project to do with children!?!

December 22, 2011

Christmas Stollen

Christmas is coming so fast! I've done so many things to try to get in the Christmas spirit but honestly I'm feeling a bit Scroogesqe this year. It just doesn't feel like Christmas to me. It might have something to do with the fact that this is the first year we haven't put a tree up. Or this is the first year that we haven't been invited to even 1 Christmas party, not even a work one. I just plain feel lonely. I love to bake holiday treats to share with others this time of year so I decided that I would still do that even though I would really have to hunt for people to share them with.

I was blessed with a lovely recipe book when I got married filled with handwritten recipes from family and friends. One of the recipes is for Christmas Stollen. My husband's family fixes this special bread every year and eats it Christmas morning. I love to make it for my side of the family and give it out to friends. I never quite follow the recipe exactly, I like to experiment. This year the bread came out flatter than usual, even though it had risen quite well before putting it in. That would have been something I expected to happen in Colorado but not Nebraska. I think I'm going to have to make another batch before we take a road trip to Virginia.

Do you have any traditional baked goods that you fix every year for Christmas? There are many things that make this bread delicious. One thing that doesn't hurt is the drunken fruit that runs throughout and of course the repeated brushing of melted butter and the dusting of powdered sugar.

Here's the original recipe:

I don't always use candied fruit. This year I bought two packages of mixed dried fruit and put it in the blender to chop it up.

At this stage I add almond extract along with the vanilla and I also add a teaspoon of cinnamon. 

Thankfully I have a KitchenAid  and it can do all the kneading for me. 

When I roll out the dough I like to add a rope of marzipan down the middle. That's a tasty addition for sure and I always miss it when it's not added.

This bread is great toasted with a little butter! We just slice it up, put it on a pan and broil it for a few minutes. 

December 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Balls

This is another thing my husband grew up making and enjoying every Christmas. I think he might consider himself to be a Peanut Butter Ball expert. I always want to change it up and try something new and he starts to twitch. So I haven't really changed anything yet.

According to him I already do change it up by not using the "right" kind of chocolate. He's under the impression that you should only use melting chocolate but chocolate chips work fine for me and it's something I usually have on hand already. They sure disappear quickly so they must be good. I would love to know if you have any ideas for changing up Peanut Butter Balls. Read below for the recipe I used. 

Peanut Butter Balls (click here for printable recipe)

2 cups creamy peanut butter  (I use one cup creamy and 1 cup crunchy)
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
3 cups rice crispy cereal
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips

1.) Melt peanut butter and butter in a saucepan, over low heat. 
2.) In a large bowl mix cereal and sugar well.
3.) When peanut butter mixture is completely smooth pour it into the cereal mixture and blend together thoroughly.
4.) Form into 1 inch or smaller balls. My husband likes to remind me to roll them until their shiny. Spread out on cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Chill them until they are firm (overnight is okay).

Don't forget to make space in your refrigerator!


5.) Melt chocolate in double broiler and keep melted while working. A teaspoon works well for dipping the balls in the chocolate. Dip them so that they are completely covered and then place them back on the cookie sheet covered in parchment or wax paper. Put them back in the refrigerator and chill them until they are firm. 

This would be a great thing for a little helper to assist you with. Rolling all those balls takes a while! Usually making things like this brings me joy but as I stood there rolling all 110 Peanut Butter Balls by myself I was feeling nothing but sadness. I realized there's not anything that I can do to get myself in the Christmas spirit. For me Christmas isn't about the stuff, the things, the pretty decorations. All that is a facade. It's about relationships and spending time with friends and family. Preparing for a celebration of a Miracle on earth.  It's not fun to be living in such a foreign place away from everything that's familiar. I guess it really puts things in perspective for me, hopefully I will walk away from this experience having learned a lot.

I hope you'll have a chance to make this recipe for or with someone near and dear to you!

December 20, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday (melting chocolate)

Tis the Season for making all kinds of treats especially ones dipped in chocolate. I learned some tips for melting chocolate that really helped me so I thought I would pass it on in hopes to help you.

#1 NEVER allow any water to come in contact with the melting chocolate. I learned this the hard way. The chocolate will get really thick and lumpy even if just a drop or two of water come in contact with the chocolate. Even the steam from a double broiler can cause this problem. Make sure to keep the chocolate dry as it melts!

#2 If your chocolate gets thick and lumpy blend in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and hopefully the chocolate will smooth out.

#3 White chocolate or vanilla milk chips are the most challenging to melt. This explains my difficulties in the past... Apparently this kind of chocolate will thicken up quick with too much heat.

Have any more good tips for melting chocolate? Please share them in the comments below or e-mail me at

Tomorrow I'll share my recipe for Peanut Butter Balls.

December 19, 2011

Scotch Eggs from Narnia

Last Christmas I received the most charming gift, The Narnia Cookbook. I love books! They are wonderful gifts that keep on giving, especially cookbooks. The Narnia Cookbook is such a treasure. It's full of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks and of course afternoon tea. Each page is adorned with magical illustrations and each recipe has a tale of an introduction.

I'm sad to say that this beautiful book is no longer in print. There have been rumors that a reprinting is in order but that has yet to happen. You might be lucky enough to find a copy out there on the web but unfortunately it will cost you a pretty penny.

When we opened one of the days on our Advent Calendar and it said breakfast for dinner I knew that I had to do something special and fun. I decided on a menu of Bacon Banana pancakes with Scotch Eggs and fresh fruit on the side. I knew that we already had all the ingredients for our breakfast for dinner but I actually hadn't made any of these dishes before. I remembered watching something on Food Network with Scotch Eggs and always wanted to try them. I was delighted when I discovered a recipe for them in my Narnia Cookbook.

According to the introduction these eggs are ABSOLUTELY delicious and filled with protein and vitamins. The author goes on to write that Dwarfs like to take cold Scotch Eggs with them when traveling and that they are easy to transport.

These eggs did not disappoint and are worth every single second of effort. The pancakes were divine too but I can't get into that right now. I can only handle one good thing at a time at this moment. Let's just say writing this post is challenging because the Scotch Eggs are all gone and my stomach is growling and a small, thin strand of drool is slowing sliding out between my lips. Okay it's decided I'll be making these again VERY soon. I hope you will try them too! They could be a wonderful addition to your Christmas morning breakfast.

Scotch Eggs from the Narnia Cookbook
Makes 6

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chilled
3/4 pounds sausage meat
1 uncooked egg
1 cup bread crumbs
Vegetable oil

1.) Divide the sausage meat into 6 portions, and press 1 portion around each egg to cover completely

2.) Beat the uncooked egg; then roll each sausage covered egg first in the beaten egg, then in the bread crumbs.

3.) Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a pan. The oil should be hot enough to brown a 1-inch cube of bread in 40-50 seconds. It should not be smoking hot. Add the eggs, turning them often to brown the meat and cook it thoroughly. If the oil begins to smoke, reduce heat slightly so the meat cooks completely while browning on the outside. 

4.) Drain on paper towels and serve hot. 

Season these with a little ground pepper and salt and it's a good time in your mouth.

December 16, 2011

Nacho Cheese

Do you know how many ingredients are in processed nacho cheese? There are at least over 20!  Some of them I can't even pronounce and I have no clue what their purpose is.

There aren't many of us who don't love that cheesy goodness. I have to ask myself, is it worth it? I'm such a foodie and if I'm going to eat something I know isn't that good for me, which I do all the time, I at least want to have control of the ingredients. That's why I was excited to discover I can make my own Nacho Cheese. It's super easy and YUMMY!

Nacho Cheese (click here for printable recipe)

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour                                                                 
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese (You can use any kind I've been using Chipotle cheddar and it's really good)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small can of green chilies or any other pepper you like

In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter and stir in flour
Pour in the milk and stir until thickened (you know it's ready when it coats the back of the spoon)
Keep stirring and mix in the cheese and salt. (you might want to add more cheese depending on the kind you use and if it's finely shredded)
Continue to cook and stir until all the cheese has melted and everything is well blended.
This should take about 15 minutes.

December 15, 2011

A Mysterious Package

The other day me and my girl Blanca went for a walk around the block ending with the rewarding experience of getting the mail. It truly is the most exciting part of our day. Blanca always thinks the mail is for her too, it's quite funny. Maybe it's because when we first got her we let her open the mail that was sent her her by her grandparents to welcome her to her new home.

Well there was no mail for Blanca this time. I was surprised to discover a mysterious package with my name on it from the lovely state of Oregon. I wasn't expecting anything so I was clueless as to what it could be. The return address said Bouncing Ball Creations. I was very curious to find out what was inside. When I opened up the package I searched for a note but there was none to be found. I did find a small fabric sack, adorned with a silky black ribbon tied in a neat little bow. On the front of the sack was an image of a bouncing ball. What a lovely little sack I thought, I couldn't imagine what was inside. I carefully untied the ribbon and 5 pencils slid out. These were no ordinary pencils though. They were special. Each one has a different design that was in a strange way familiar. I sat and stared at these lovely pencils thinking to myself why are they so familiar. Then it hit me. The patterns on the pencils were the same as the inside of an envelope. I wrote a post not to long ago about using the inside of an envelope to make cards, check it out here.

I'm still left wondering who sent me these lovely pencils in such a sweet pencil pouch. I got online and typed in Bouncing Ball Creations and discovered an Etsy shop with that name. Unfortunately the owner has closed the shop for a vacation right now. According to the profile, the owners name is Mariko which means bouncing ball in Japanese. So that explains the name of the company.  I noticed that the pencils fit perfectly in the block that holds my new calendar that my swapmate sent. Was it you calendar swapmate? Whoever it was I'm very appreciative and would like to say thank you. So you should come forward! I do adore these little pencils and love the fact that they are mechanical so they won't dwindle away by sharpening.

Finally I would like to say:

December 13, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday (Squash Seeds)

Have you ever had roasted pumpkin seeds before? I can't go through the process of carving out a pumpkin with out having the smells and salty crunch of roasting the pumpkin seeds. In fact when my third graders would do their pumpkin estimation projects we would save all the seeds to roast up. That was a lot of roasted pumpkin seeds. But they went fast because they are irresistible!

When I was scooping out the seeds of the spaghetti squash I wondered could they be roasted like pumpkin seeds? The answer is YES! Why wouldn't you be able to, they are from the same family right? Next time your make squash don't throw out the seeds!

Here's what you do to roast Squash Seeds:

1.) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Clean the pulp off the seeds and dry them really well.

2.) Toss with a tiny amount of olive oil. You only need enough to barely coat them or they will be greasy.

3.) Add salt or any kind of seasoning you like. Chili powder and garlic salt are divine!

4.) Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the seeds out in a single layer.

5.) Roast the seeds for 45-60 minutes. I check them every 15 or so minutes and toss them around.

6.) Warning these will disappear fast! There is something about the salty, crunch that is like none other and absolutely addictive.

You know you want one!

December 10, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Now this is the kind of recipe that will make my mamma proud. She loves vegetables! My husband on the other hand is what you could call a meatatarian, one who thinks every meal needs to have meat involved. I had never cooked a Spaghetti Squash before and was a little intimidated. I wondered if it would work and come out all noodly looking like I've seen before. Well thanks to Emeril Lagasse I learned how to cook a Spaghetti Squash in what I would consider a fool proof way. It turned out to be quite delicious and satisfying. I think it's a great meal to serve once a week as a meat free option, although my husband still doesn't agree with me on that one, even though he thought it was so yummy he did go back for seconds.

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti (click here for Emeril's recipe)

1 small spaghetti squash
2 1/2 Tablespoons butter
2 1/2 Tablespoons of mixed herbs, you can use anything you have available like chives, parsley, garlic...
salt & pepper to taste
1 jar marinara sauce
Cheese for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Use a sharp knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish and add enough water to come halfway up the squash. 

Cover the squash with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Turn the squash over and cook another 15 minutes with the foil on.

Remove from the oven, uncover and allow to cool slightly, then remove the seeds (KEEP THEM FOR LATER USE)

Using two forks gently pull the strands of squash away from the peel. This step is so magical, it really looks like noodles!

Heat up a skillet with the butter and herbs then add the squash. Toss thoroughly, it doesn't need to be heated up for long. 

In another small pan heat up your marinara sauce. 

Lastly plate up your spaghetti and top with marinara sauce and your favorite cheese. 


Come back tomorrow and read the tidbit for why you should save those seeds. Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think about spaghetti squash!

December 8, 2011

Pottery Update

It's been a while since I've shared what's been going on with my pottery endeavors. I'm happy to say that I've continued working hard and improving more and more each time I throw. I feel so thankful that I've found a place here in the heartland where I can explore this amazing art. I can't even describe how wonderful it feels to throw pottery. It just feels right.

The studio where I have the privilege of throwing can have both it's advantages and disadvantages. It's a community of all kinds of ceramic artists with varying levels of experience. In the front of the space is an inspiring gallery full of pieces that are for sale. The pieces have been crafted by those who rent studio space. Beyond the gallery is where the artists get all their work done. Along the perimeter are private spaces that are rented out. Each artist that has one of these spaces has all of their own equipment and sets up their space to meet their own individual needs.  In the middle section is a public space filled with pottery wheels and solid wooden tables covered in canvas, outlined with shelves. This is a space that's used for classes and others that don't have their own equipment. Beyond this is a separate glaze and kiln room.

I get to throw pottery in the public space! I'm grateful to be able to have access to a pottery wheel and a space to explore pottery. Since I don't have any of my own equipment, except for an assortment of tools and basics, this is the best set up for me. Since this is a community I have the opportunity to learn from so many wonderful people and absorb lots of information.

This type of set up can feel very limiting at times. I don't always have room on my shelves to put all my pots. Even though I have my name on my two shelves I will sometimes find random things that aren't mine placed there. Sometimes my favorite wheel is taken or worse moved. Often I feel like a fish and like everyone is always watching me. When it comes time to firing my pots there is no real schedule. Also only one person is allowed to actually do the firing process so the results stay consistent. I've been able to help with the loading and unloading of the kilns but not the actual firing.

I find it to be challenging at times not to get discouraged. I find myself comparing my pieces to those who've been throwing pottery for many, many years. I desire so badly to have my own space where I have control over the organization of everything and the firing process. Where I don't have to share! Of course I know that being all alone would have it's disadvantages too. I really am learning so much by being a part of this community. What an amazing opportunity I've been given. I just need to remember that this is a time to learn and grow. I need to hold on to the hope that one day I will have more shelf space and access to all the tools I need when I need them. And most of all I will be able to share my pots with others and have a display of my own work in a gallery.

Until then I will keep growing and learn all that I can. Below I've got some pictures of my most recent pieces. I was discouraged when I first saw them come out of the kiln. None of the glazes worked the way I thought they would. Once I got my pieces out in natural light and out of that nasty fluorescent stuff they looked much better than I originally thought. I would love to hear what you think! Which one is your favorite?

This glaze was a BIG surprise.

I wrote about this little acorn before he was glazed. I love the shadow he makes! The glaze didn't show the texture on the top though :( And the lid doesn't quite work.

I really like the way the inside of this bowl turned out.

Isn't this one fun? One end of the handle popped off when it was bisque fired so I decided to see what would happen after glazing it. I was surprised that it actually stayed on. I like how unique it is and it still works just fine.

Sweet Corn Bread

I could eat bread for every meal, sometimes I actually do. I like just about any kind of bread. The following recipe is for Corn Bread. This is not typical corn bread though. This corn bread has a special ingredient. None other than CARROTS. The carrots add a delicious sweetness! They also help the cornbread stay nice and moist. It's so moist it usually doesn't stay in a whole piece. It's almost moist enough to not need any butter...yeah right bread with no butter, that doesn't exist in my world.

1 cup yellow self-rising corn meal  (I've never used self-rising because I just have the regular stuff)
1/2 cup self-rising flour  (Only have regular flour?  Just mix in a teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups carrots, finely grated
2 whole eggs
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Cream oil and sugar. 
Blend eggs and add to oil and sugar mixture.
Combine corn meal, flour and cinnamon and add to mixture. 
Add carrots, nuts and raisins. Mix thoroughly.
Pour into a well-greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

December 6, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday (calendars)

With all my posts about calendars I figured I would have to share a tidbit I learned a while ago. I'm a lover of organization and all the tools, gadgets, gizmos, papers, and colored markers that will aide me in my quest. I can remember being in college learning to be a teacher and sitting down with one of my mentors. I always prided myself on my ability to appear together and organized. I had my color coded calendar on my lap as we sat and talked. When it came for the time to schedule our next meeting I opened my calendar to make note of it. That's when she shared some advice that I've never forgotten.

ALWAYS write on your calendar with a pencil! 

The busyness of life mandates flexibly.  You need to be able to erase and re-write things with ease. Nothing I mean NOTHING would drive me crazier than having a cluttered calendar with things crossed out and re-written. So that's why I will only write on my calendar with pencil. If there is something important I want to stand out and really want to make sure to remember. I place an appropriate sticker on the date. For example birthdays I always put a cupcake or birthday related sticker, appointments get a star, anniversaries get a heart. It's quite fun to hunt for just the right stickers for your calendar. It really streamlines things and then when you just glance at your calendar the reminders stand out to you and you don't have to stop and read and decode what you wrote down. The stickers are usually easy to remove too.

Is it weird that I actually enjoy setting up my calendar every year? I feel like it helps me to remember all those birthdays and other important dates. I've always used a dry erase calendar at school and I find it very fun to change that one monthly! So I just let the world know I have at least 2 calendars.  I think I just realized I might have a slight obsession with calendars. It's not even that my life is really that crazy, I just like the organized feeling of a calendar I think it helps me feel in control :)

This year when you pick out your calendar get yourself some stickers! And be sure to keep a pencil nearby so you're not tempted to write with the permanency of a pen. I hope I'm not the only one that's crazy about keeping things organized, please share if you have any good tidbits on calendars or organizing in general. Happy planning for the new year, it's just around the corner!

June is my most favorite month of all :)

December 5, 2011

2012 Calendar

Last week I wrote about a Magnetic Perpetual Calendar that I made for my swapmate. Today I'm super excited to share with you the calendar that I received! There is nothing better than getting snail mail. Especially when it's a surprise. An adorable little square box appeared at my door step last week with a label that I didn't recognize. Of course I instantly wondered could this be my calendar?

I anxiously waited for my husband to arrive home from work because at our house during the holiday season we can't open anything without getting the others approval. Just in case it could be a gift that was ordered and it's supposed to be a surprise. Well after the Cookie Monster cleared the package I finally got to see what was inside.

It was a calendar! A lovely desk calendar created by Cat Seto. Each month is printed on 100% recycled paper and is held in place by a wood block holder made of reclaimed lumber. This wood block also has a special spot carved out for a pencil. It truly is a wonderful calendar that is a piece of art. Another awesome feature about this calendar is that I can mail the used pages back to the studio where they will recycle them and give me a discount on the newest calendar.

I adore the illustrations for each month!

Do you have a calendar for the new year yet? If you love this one you can purchase one for yourself on Esty by clicking here. Next year you'll have to join in on the Calendar Swapping fun hosted by Design Crush.

A BIG to my calendar swapmate for sending such a lovely calendar!